Gervonta Davis knocks out Frank Martin to retain WBA lightweight title

After the longest layoff of his professional career, Gervonta Davis “Tank” made a triumphant return to the ring, reminding the boxing world of his formidable one-punch power. 

Davis secured an eighth-round knockout against Frank Martin on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, retaining his WBA lightweight title.

Gervonta Davis (30-0, 28 KOs) showcased his signature power with a devastating left uppercut followed by a straight left, sending Martin crashing into the ropes and onto the canvas. This victory marked Davis’s fourth consecutive knockout win. Despite conceding five of the first six rounds to gather data on his opponent, Davis ended the bout in spectacular fashion.

A couple rounds, I didn’t feel like I warmed up completely like I wanted to, but I did warm up as the fight was going on,” said Davis, who was fighting for the first time in 421 days. “I knew that he was going to tire down, so I was just standing there, being a target for him so he could tire himself out. And once he tired himself out, I started picking him apart.”

Entering the seventh round, Martin (18-1, 12 KOs) held a slight edge in power punches, leading 37-31 according to CompuBox statistics. However, Davis reversed this margin dramatically by landing 19 power punches to Martin’s 11 in that round.

The seventh round set the stage for Gervonta Davis brutal finale. He stalked Martin into the corner and began unloading a flurry of punches. A clean left hand stunned Martin, and Davis unleashed another powerful shot that sealed the knockout victory, drawing cheers from the announced crowd of 13,249.

Davis had not fought since his seventh-round knockout of Ryan Garcia in April 2023, also in Las Vegas. His time away from the ring included a 44-day stint in a detention center for violating the terms of his house arrest related to a car accident that injured four people, including a pregnant woman.

“I’ve been around for a long time,” said Davis, whose right cheek was swollen and red from absorbing blows in the early rounds. “I’ve been training since I was 7 years old and competing since I was 8. It’s like second nature. It’s about staying focused, making sure my mind is on a goal, and that’s always to come out on top.”— Gene Wang